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just walking
in Science

By maxxmaxx 241 Pts
Do humans swing their arms for balance; or as an evolutionary carry-over from when they walked upon all fours and moved their legs/arms in same matter when they walked?



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  • Arm swing in human bipedal walking is a natural motion wherein each arm swings with the motion of the opposing leg. Swinging arms in an opposing direction with respect to the lower limb reduces the angular momentum of the body, balancing the rotational motion produced during walking.
    BrainSocks
  • maxxmaxx 241 Pts
    However, inducing the same motion in a four limb walking situation of an early evolutionary primate shows we are merely copying the four limb walking in an upright position. If a person who is normally walking upright and swinging the arms is suddenly put “ on all fours “, then the arm swinging mimics the walking of an animal.
    BrainSocks
  • Note - Some people drag their knuckles on the ground when they walk. I see it on this website all the time. lol
    CheckerbordStrangler
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3245 Pts
    Try walking very fast with your hands in your pockets; you will see how terribly hard and uncomfortable it is, as your center of mass constantly moves around, forcing you to perform strange motions with your body. It, indeed, seems to be a natural balancing mechanism. It is especially important when running, as your body then is shifted forward and you have a purely dynamic balance; if you suddenly freeze in the position you are while running, you will trip and fall. Swinging arms becomes necessary to maintain that balance.
    Oppolzermaxx
  • maxxmaxx 241 Pts
    may. regardless of how humans use the arms as of now, my idea is that the swinging  of the arms were nothing more than our original use of a 4 leg movement; the arm swinging is just a carry over on how we used to walk. aside from walking a tight rope, we do not need arm movement to balance. the reason it feels un-natural is because we have become used to using our fore-limbs when we were a 4 leg primate. 

  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3245 Pts
    edited May 2019
    @maxx

    I do not think there is a dichotomy between these two. Our 4 legs evolved into 2 legs and 2 arms, but the physics has not changed: we started walking differently, but we still need all 4 limbs to do it effectively. 

    You are right that it is possible to walk fast without swinging our arms, and even, perhaps, to run doing so - but the balance will be off, no matter how much we practice. It is like cycling and not holding the handlebar: it is possible to learn to cycle this way to the extent that you will be a better cyclist than most regular cyclists - but you will still have much less control over your movement than you would with your hands on the handlebar.
    Or think about driving a sports car fast and holding the steering wheel with one hand: you can drive very well this way, but at the same time you can drive much better with both hands on the wheel. You do not "need" both hands, but you gain a strong advantage if you choose to use both of them.
  • maxxmaxx 241 Pts
    @MayCaesar you are missing my point. I agree that today we need our arms to justify our balance in walking. I am trying to point out that the same movement of our arms that we use today, would be the same movement we used as on all fours and when we stood upright, we continued using them. look at apes and chimps as they walk; they use a combination of the two. or put a little baby on its back and notice how all four limbs move. as well, when babies begin to walk they keep their arms in front with no arm movement, if little. Of course we use our arms for balance, yet it is not needed in walking, we are just mimicking an evolutionary situation.
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